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UBS launches philanthropic portfolio to improve healthcare in world's most neglected communities

Zurich Media Releases EMEA Media Switzerland


Key facts:

  • One billion people have no access to basic healthcare¹, and 6 million children die each year from preventable causes²
  • Simple, proven ways exist to prevent this but they are not being financed or scaled
  • Portfolio approach is a highly effective way to ensure large-scale, result-based improvements
  • All donations doubled; UBS Optimus Foundation plans to co-fund portfolio

Zurich, 17 November 2016 – The UBS Optimus Foundation today launches Going Further: a philanthropic health portfolio, which breaks new ground in the way we think about financing and delivering large scale, transformational change for the world's most neglected communities. The Foundation plans to co-fund the portfolio. In addition, all donations will be doubled by portfolio partners, increasing the reach and impact of each donation significantly. And the UBS Optimus Foundation guarantees that 100% of each donation will go to portfolio programs because UBS covers all its administrative costs.

A matter of urgency
The currently fragmented approach to development funding is not working. While billions of dollars are spent annually on aid programs it is estimated that an extra USD 1.4 trillion³ is needed each year to lift 700 million people out of poverty and neglect by 2030 and meet the world's ambitious new development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals. This makes the case for attracting even greater levels of private capital to augment traditional funding streams more compelling than ever.

But it is not just about income. Outcomes are equally important. Despite the resources poured into development aid, the results are not what we are entitled to expect. Today, children in some areas are still 20 times more likely to die than in developed countries⁴. A lack of focus on outcomes means it is often unclear if funds are being used effectively. Many donors only have access to a single standalone program. This may fail, and even if it does work the impact is relatively small. And too many promising programs are being overlooked and not financed or taken to scale. There is clearly a need to explore new ways of financing and delivering change that is concerted, significant and lasting. And that is exactly what  the Going Further portfolio seeks to do.

“The new Going Further portfolio offers UBS clients the opportunity to support a diverse set of world-renowned partners with best-in-class, result-focused programs that can drive the large-scale global change needed to ensure children thrive,” said Sergio P. Ermotti, UBS CEO and Chairman of the UBS Optimus Foundation Board of Directors

Ambition and action
Bundling high-quality, result-focused programs designed to address a specific issue within a portfolio structure gives programs access to additional funding. This allows the best ideas to grow faster and reach the maximum possible number of people. And it allows donors to maximize their immediate and long-term philanthropic impact while spreading risk.

The advantages of a portfolio approach

  • unique access to a diverse set of world-renowned partners
  • tried and tested programs, combined with highly promising new programs
  • creation of funding pool to help successful programs grow faster
  • increased probability of backing successful, transformational change
  • cross-pollination of best-practice between programs
  • robust, pre-agreed performance standards to ensure programs stay on track
  • reduction in the risk associated with supporting a single program
  • support of a proof-of-concept model to build momentum for a new, more effective way to finance and deliver aid

Examples of Going Further portfolio partners
Last Mile Health
: In Liberia, Last Mile Health ensures access to quality primary health services for those living in remote communities. Its workers are members of the communities they serve and bring critical health services to the doorsteps of people living in the some of the world's hardest places to reach.

Living Goods: In many countries people lack access to quality health and food products. Private markets are unregulated and erratic, resulting in high prices. And public systems are under-funded, under-managed, and under-stocked. Through an ‘Avon-like’ approach women in the program are providing access to much-needed products and information to improve family health. And, as micro-entrepreneurs, they can also earn a living for themselves and their families.

We Care Solar: Each year, over a quarter of a million mothers die of pregnancy-related complications and nearly one million babies die on the first day of their life, often in health centers without reliable electricity. The Solar Suitcase is low-cost and easy to use and captures the sun's energy during the day to provide a reliable source of electricity at night in health clinics in poor rural areas. This powers lights, medical and communication equipment, transforming the chances of survival for mothers and babies.

mCARE: Millions of newborn babies die each year, many in poor areas where births usually occur in the home. In rural Bangladesh, 90% of births occur at home and the neonatal mortality rate stands at 23 deaths for every 1,000 live births – ten times greater than in many developed countries. mCare uses simple mobile phone-based technology to provide pregnant women with information and link them to a local community health worker and an emergency neonatal care team. It has increased the number of women accessing ante-natal services by 260%.

Robust oversight
Detailed reporting from portfolio partners, regular reviews by the UBS Optimus Foundation's team, and assessments by external experts will allow continuous measurement of the impact of portfolio programs. With this clear understanding of how each program is performing, the UBS Optimus Foundation can make adjustments where necessary and advise on a course of action that will ensure the best outcomes for children, their families and communities.

About the UBS Optimus Foundation:
We are an award-winning, expert grant-making foundation that helps UBS clients use their wealth to drive positive, sustainable social change for children. We connect them with inspiring entrepreneurs, new technologies, and proven models that bridge a gap preventing children from surviving and thriving. We select programs that improve children's health, education and protection, ones that have the potential to be transformative, scalable and sustainable. And we guarantee that 100% of all donations go to support programs that benefit children because UBS covers all our costs. To find out more about the Going Further portfolio visit Follow us on Twitter @UBSOptimus



UBS Optimus Foundation

Media contacts UBS Optimus Foundation

Ian Welle-Skitt

Sarah Gonzalez-Arza

+41-44-235 90 49

+41-44-234 18 70

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